The newest member of the West Virginia Board of Education has a keen knowledge of what children should know when they leave the classroom to enter the workforce.
Tina Combs was recently appointed to the state board by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin. Combs is the president of the Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce. Her job gives her insights others may not realize when it comes to what employers are finding among high school graduates.
“An educated workforce is the key to economic development,” said Combs. “It’s what grows our businesses. We do hear a lot from our business community about what their needs are so I do have that to bring to the table.”
Combs said the biggest problems employers have is getting people with enough basic skills to at least survive the job screening process.
“There are times when people can’t pass basic skills knowledge tests when they go through pre-employment screening for different businesses,” she said.
Combs said furthermore there are “soft skills” like work ethic, attitude, and appearance which could also use some work.
“Make sure people know they have to show up for work on time, they have to dress a certain way,” she said. “Skills you have to take no matter where you work.”
Combs had no preconceived agenda about the job. She is presently trying to read through the audit report on education reform in West Virginia. The document seems to be more and more the blueprint for change in the West Virginia educational system for the coming legislative session. Combs said she’s excited and honored to be part of the body which will craft the change.